Objective: To examine the relationship between ambulance diversion and low acuity patient (LAP) attendances to EDs.
Methods: Comparison of LAP attendance rates at inner metropolitan EDs and outer metropolitan EDs using a previously validated methodology.
Results: The percentage of LAP attendances was lower at inner metropolitan EDs (11.4%, 95% CI 11.3-11.6) compared to outer metropolitan hospitals (22.9%, 95% CI 22.6-23.2, P < 0.001). The proportion of LAP attendances was slightly higher at both inner and outer metropolitan hospitals after-hours compared to working hours. Average daily LAP attendances per inner metropolitan hospital (13.4 attendances, 95% CI 13.2-13.6) which averaged 89.2 min of diversion daily (95% CI 88.7-89.7) were lower than at outer metropolitan hospitals (19.3 attendances, 95% CI 19.0-19.6, P < 0.001), which averaged 12.4 min of diversion daily (95% CI 12.1-12.5, P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Inner metropolitan hospitals experience low LAP attendance rates. Attempts to further reduce LAP attendance rates at Perth inner metropolitan hospitals have limited scope to reduce ambulance diversion.